Fresh produce shortages expected to be shortlived

Quick price spike at Durban as supplies are replenished

The Durban municipal fresh produce market re-opened last Friday, trading on Saturday and this week as normal, with fairly strong footfall.
“An incredible amount of fresh produce is being sent to KwaZulu-Natal,” says a trader, who expects current shortages to shortly be filled and normalize.

In the meantime, over the past two days potato prices have been lifted by R20 (1.16 euro) to R30 (1.74 euro) per 10kg above the levels at South Africa's other markets. Today the spike has already come down to only R5 to R6 above national levels. (The average potato price is R6,75 per kg at the Johannesburg fresh produce market today.)

The closure of major highways disrupted deliveries from Limpopo, western Free State and the Northern Cape, the areas currently delivering potatoes to the market.

“Potato consumption is currently very good and has been stable over the past few months at a level higher than usual. I think it can be ascribed to people rediscovering their kitchens.”

Loss of two sales days at Jhb municipal market
At the Johannesburg municipal fresh produce market sales slowed down significantly as suppliers and buyers stayed away as looting and volatility continued in communities around Johannesburg.

Potatoes as far as the eye an see at the Johannesburg fresh produce market (archive photo)

There were warnings that the Johannesburg market could be targeted, but the City of Johannesburg lost no time in assigning extra security and metro police to the premises.

There were no incidents of violence but two sales days were lost at the Johannesburg market where between 200,000 to 300,000 units of potatoes and onions are sold daily.

Producers were advised not to send to the market for a few days, and when supplies resumed at the end of last week, it coincided with strong demand which has protected price levels on onions and potatoes, a trader says.

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